BOSTON (CBS) — Life, and baseball, is all about perspective.

For some, losing a 1-0 game on a wild pitch in the ninth against a divisional rival to fall out of first place on a night when the opponent mustered just two total hits in nine innings would be devastating.

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For Alex Cora, a game like that one is … encouraging.

“It depends how you see it,” Cora said Thursday night, when asked if the 1-0 loss to the Rays was the toughest loss of the year. “I thought it was a great baseball game. We ended up losing it 1-0. We did a lot of good things. We did a lot of bad things.”

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The loss ended a wild series in Tampa, which began with an 11-inning win for the Red Sox and ended with consecutive losses for the visiting team. While the Red Sox now sit a half-game back of the Rays in the AL East, Cora came away from this series feeling as though his team can compete with anyone in Major League Baseball.

“I gotta be honest with you,” Cora said. “A lot of people, they didn’t believe in this team before the season. I think the way we played against these guys tonight shows how good we are. And we have a lot of work to do, we know that. But we belong in the conversation. We’re really good. And it’s going to be a fun summer in Boston.”

Despite the series loss, the Red Sox are still ahead in the season series with Tampa Bay, with a 4-2 record. They’re 7-2 against the Rays and Yankees, after going 4-16 against those two teams last season and 12-26 against them in 2019.

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With the Red Sox a half-game out of first and 3.5 games up on New York, the “fun summer” will begin in earnest on Friday night, when the Yankees make their first trip of the year to Fenway Park.

CBSBoston.com Staff